Today we’re urging Government, regulators and businesses to renew their efforts to call time on nuisance calls and texts as complaints about this everyday menace continue to rack up in the tens of thousands.
Last year I was asked by the Government to chair a taskforce that would find ways to help tackle the problem of nuisance calls. In December we outlined 15 recommendations to introduce tougher rules and more action from businesses, the regulators and the Government. But six months on, much more needs to be done.
Since the taskforce reported, there have been around 61,500 official complaints about nuisance calls and texts, according to figures from the regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office. But just 2% of people who’ve had these calls report them to the regulator, meaning there are millions more.
The taskforce set out a clear action plan, so it’s disappointing that so many unwanted calls and texts are still being received. People are sick of being bombarded with calls that invade their privacy and waste their time.
Complaints about nuisance calls
We’ve heard stories like Peter’s:
‘My 13 -year-old son got one. When he said he was only 13 they replied “has your dad or mum had an accident?”‘
‘When my mother was dying slowly in a care home 40 miles away and I was home caring for my sick husband, I sometimes had a dozen calls a day, any of which might have been the final summons I was dreading.
‘I bought a machine that let me block certain numbers – but these clever crooks changed their numbers with each call.’
The action we want taken to crack down on nuisance calls
We’re calling on the new Government to make senior executives accountable by law for their company’s nuisance calls.
Our new research found that eight in 10 people support greater accountability over nuisance calls, including directors being personally fined if their company continues breaks the rules.
That’s why we want businesses to take action now and support our campaign by making a public commitment to tackle nuisance calls. Already major companies including BT and SSE have publicly pledged their support.
We also want businesses to be required to show their number when they call you.
And we want regulators to give people more power by putting them in control of how their personal data is used. This means making it easier for you to unsubscribe from lists when you’ve accidentally found that you’ve opted in to be contacted. They must also provide some standardised wording for those opt in questions to make it easier for you to understand what it is you’re agreeing to.
We’re making it easier for you to complain about nuisance calls
There are things we can do to make it easier for you, too. We’ve found that a quarter of people don’t know where to complain when they receive an unwanted call, so we’re launching a new online complaints tool.
You can now send your complaint directly to the correct regulator in one simple process.
Nearly 200,000 of you have backed our Calling Time campaign, but now we’re urging you to make sure you report all nuisance calls and texts. This gives regulators the vital evidence they need to take action against companies breaking the rules.
Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that all of us are no longer bombarded on a daily basis with unwanted calls. The Government knows what’s required to tackle nuisance calls, so we need to see more sustained action, with senior executives held to account, to help put an end to this everyday menace.